Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Men On The Road, Women At Home

You probably saw over the weekend that much was made of UMBC and its ability to beat the No. 1 team in the country.

As you recall, UMBC became the first No. 16 seed in the men's NCAA basketball tournament to defeat a No. 1 with its stunning - by both its historic significance and its relative ease - win over Virginia in the openign round.

Well, the Retrievers did it again this past weekend, knocking off Albany in men's lacrosse. Albany had been unbeaten and ranked No. 1 and had taken on something of an air of invincibility before UMBC controlled the game from start to finish, winning 11-7.

And what would a big UMBC win be without something funny from the school's official athletic Twitter feed:

Yeah. The UMBC Twitter guy continues to change the way the game is played. UMBC, by the way, had 5,000 Twitter followers the day before it played UVa in basketball. Then it went up to 111,000. Now it's at 95,600, which means that a bunch of people unfollowed the Retrievers and yet the overwhelming majority did not.

UMBC men's lacrosse, by the way, is coached by Ryan Moran, who is the brother of Princeton men's lacrosse Academic Athletic Fellow Pat Moran. They are both the nephews of legendary former Cornell coach Richie Moran.

As TigerBlog said yesterday, both the men's and women's teams play today, and both are coming off of weekends in which something happened for each team that had never happened before.

TigerBlog will start with the men, who are at Siena today at 3.

Princeton snapped a three-game losing streak with a 16-8 win over Stony Brook Saturday afternoon. The Tigers took the lead on the first possession, pushed it out to 3-0 early and never let the Seawolves tie it.

The Tigers meet Siena for the first time ever with today's visit. After that there will be three straight Ivy League games to end the regular season, and the Tigers, at 0-3 in the league, will need all three to get back into the Ivy tournament conversation.

That run begins this Saturday at home, when the Tigers host Dartmouth. 

What was the thing that happened for the first time in program history?

Michael Sowers had four goals and five assists for the Tigers, giving him nine points on the day and making him the first player in program history to have at least nine points in a game four times. In fact, Sowers has played 24 career games and has nine points four times; every other player in program history combined in the 1,180 games that the Tigers have played has one it 17 times.

There have been two other players who did it three times each. Can you name them?

In the meantime, there is the women's team.

Princeton also has a game today, with a 6:00 start on ESPNU against No. 2 Maryland. The Terps, who are the defending NCAA champs, are 12-1 on the year, with only an early season loss to North Carolina. The Tigers are ranked 20th.

And what did the women do last weekend that had never been done before in program history? When the Tigers defeated Harvard 20-15 Saturday in Cambridge, it marked the first time in program history that the team won a game in which it allowed 15 or more goals.

The game tonight could be another high-scoring one. Maryland is fourth in Division I in scoring at 16.33 per game and has scored at least 13 in every game so far this season.

TigerBlog checked out the NCAA stats pages for the men's and women's teams, and it seems that the women's teams score way more goals than the men. Cornell leads Division I in goals per game on the men's side with 15.3, a figure that would rank 14th on the women's side.

Pick a number, any number, and compare. It doesn't even have to be a round number.

The 34th-ranked teams? St. John's men, at 10.64 per game, and the Villaova women, at 13.36.

Even if you want to go with round numbers, the No. 50 team on the men's side is Detroit Mercy at 9.09. On the women's, it's Lehigh, at 12.17.

What accounts for this?

Can it just be that the women's game has a shot clock? TigerBlog will revisit this later in the year.

For now, he has to go to Siena.

But first - the answer to the trivia question is Mike MacDonald and Jesse Hubbard.


Anonymous said...

Hah. A shot clock? Nah. The defenders in the women's game can't do as much because they can only execute a few types of checks. One female attacker from UMd explained to me that the only thing the defense could do to her is force her to her non-dominant side. The male defenders can level someone.

Anonymous said...

TB, you point out the difference in scoring between men's and women's college lacrosse this year. I suspect that this difference is durable and extends over the long term from season to season.

Men's and women's lacrosse involve the same ball and stick, but they are fundamentally different sports. It is simply much, much harder to play defense on the women's side. With no checking allowed and a myriad of other restrictions on defenders, women have a much easier time scoring, especially on free position shots from the eight-meter arc.

The women's shot clock no doubt contributes to the differential but, at their core, the two sports are dissimilar in how defenders can play their position.